The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) and the National Association of Black Suppliers (NABS) announced the merger of the two organizations, creating a stronger and more dynamic Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce. The merger will give the Michigan Black Chamber the largest member base of top grossing Black owned businesses in the state according to Crain’s Detroit Business 2012 list of Black owned businesses and with 21 firms ranking in Black Enterprise Magazine’s list of the nation’s top 100 Black owned businesses. These black suppliers will boost the chamber with a membership base that competes globally, is recognized for their economic influence and has a strong political advocacy voice.
The 16 suppliers who made up the National Association of Black Suppliers do business in Arizona, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and Mexico. They have total annual sales of roughly $3 billion and employ more than 7,500.
“This is a pivotal moment welcoming these businesses to the chamber,” said Ken Harris, President/CEO, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce. “Their stature and success speaks for itself. Black business is important to our state’s economic growth and the addition of these companies will help our organization continue its unified message of thousands while advocating for black business in Michigan, as their voice.
“This is a major milestone in the growth of the Michigan Black Chamber,” said Harris. “In less than two years we have gone from announcing the founding of our Chamber to being one of the largest Black chambers in the nation. What we are doing in Michigan proves that our new urban chamber model is working.”
Leon Richardson, President/CEO of the National Association of Black Suppliers and CEO of Chemico Systems, said the merger makes sense because “in this new economy, it is essential that we continue working together as a collective to push our initiatives forward as Black business owners. We must stand together as we continue to compete locally, nationally and globally; navigating this new economy and defining what it means for Black businesses and the employees that rely on our success.”
Michael Finney, President/CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, said “The MEDC supports this initiative and will continue to help the organization grow and seek opportunities across the markets it serves. Particularly in Michigan, we have a special interest in minority businesses through our economic gardening initiative for second stage business owners who are rapidly helping to infuse Michigan’s economy with new jobs and business opportunities.”
Founded in 2010 the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) is Michigan’s first statewide Black Chamber of Commerce. It was formed through the efforts of a network of business organizations in southeast Michigan called the African-American Business Alliance; one of 127 national member organizations of the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the MBCC is to serve as a catalyst for economic change and empowerment among Black-owned businesses throughout Michigan.
The National Association of Black Suppliers (NABS) formally known as the National Association of Black Automotive Suppliers (NABAS) was formed in 1986. NABAS was formed by a group of Black business owners whose largest customers were automotive manufacturers. In 2012 the name was changed to National Association of Black Suppliers in order to accommodate the organization’s expanded mission and purpose to include suppliers in other industry and service sectors.
“I want Michigan, the U.S. and the world to know we have survived the downturn and are ushering the new economy by building strength in numbers,” said Mike Guthrie, Co-Chairman, NABAS, Board of Directors and President and CEO of SPECTRA LLC, Detroit Chassis. “We are working with the unions, we are working with the OEMs and we will continue to work with businesses who are seeking growth and progress. Michigan will be the leading model for the new way of doing business.”